EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE BREATHES HARD AND SOFT
Our primary art of study is Authentic Okinawan Gojuryu Karate-do, founded by Miyagi Chojun Sensei (1882-1953). Miyagi Sensei based his art of of his studies with Higashionna Kanryo Sensei (1850-19150). We specifically study the line of Gojuryu, as passed down from Miyagi’s successor Miyazato Eiichi Sensei (1922-1999) and onto Iha Koshin Sensei, Kiichi Nakamoto Sensei (both students of Miyagi and Miyazato) and Kenei Shimabukuro Sensei (a student of Miyazato Sensei).
Goju-ryu (the hard/soft style) is an art which combines traditional Okinawan techniques
with both internal and external Chinese principles. The soft (ju), internal Chinese style concentrates upon circular movements and the development of chi (vital energy), while external, hard (go) principle rely upon physical strength. The combination of these principles makes Goju-ryu a close-range, fighting system that concentrates on efficiency of movements as well as a personal development. Okinawa-den Goju Ryu Karate-do was recognized as a Koryu (classical tradition) by the Dai Nippon Butokukai in 1998 and is the only karate system to hold this distinction.
A signature quality in this system is the emphasis that is placed upon combining soft circular blocking techniques with quick strong counter techniques delivered in rapid succession. The movements contained with Goju-Ryu kata are intended for self-defense and not for sport. Short, circular blocks, powerful holds and locks, efficient punching maneuvers, and kicking techniques targeted to the lower body characterize the art that Miyagi carefully developed.
Our training consists of 4 major components. The first is Kihon-Waza, which are the fundamental techniques introduced through individual and paired practice. These are meant to teach the principles
(Gensoku) of the art. From there we move onto Yakusoku Kumite, which are applied techniques which allow students the opportunity to apply the principles of what they’ve learned in Kihon-Waza and apply them in other techniques. The third component is Kata, which allows students the opportunity to perform techniques they’ve learned through a pre-determined form. The fourth component is Kakie, this allows the student to learn how to stick to their opponent. Beyond these four components, the students will engage in Jyu Kumite or Randori. This sort of “freestyle” training serves to reinforce what a student has learned and helps them to pinpoint the areas in which they need to improve.
KIHON WAZA – BASIC TECHNIQUES
Kihon-Waza, or fundamental techniques, provide the basis for the skills that a Yushikan
practitioner develops. These are practiced through individual and paired kata, and techniques are grouped into four different sets. Each set focuses on unique principles upon which the techniques are based. Through repetitive practice of each of these sets, students are able to internalize the techniques, with the goal of being able to respond to an attack instinctively. Referring to Kihon-Waza as basic or fundamental techniques can be a bit misleading. Performing them well, takes years of dedicated practice and a focus on perfecting each and every movement. A life-long search for perfection is one of the hallmarks of traditional Okinawan martial artists, and is the attitude one must take if they truly wish to excel in Goju-Ryu.
Yakusoku Kumite is the applied application of the Kihon Waza, students utilize the techniques taught and begin to apply them against an opponent. As the student advances so do the difficulty of the sets. Some of the sets include; Shodan Uke Harai, Sandan Uke Harai, Sandan Nuichi Harai, Ju Kumite, Uke Naga Waza, KIgi Ho Wa, Ju Goshin Waza, and Kaishu Kumite.
Katas are a sequence of pre-defined movements that include the attack and defense against imaginary attackers. They are practiced alone to perfect the movements and to learn how to move more efficiently. Many Katas contain karate techniques that are not obvious to an onlooker (and sometimes not even to the student performing the Kata). The practical application of the Katas is called BUNKAI. Katas and their applications are an integral part of the grading system. There are thirteen kata in the Okinawan Goju-Ryu system as passed down by its founder. Since the passing of Miyagi Sensei several of his students have formulated their own kata.
Kihon Kata 基本型
- Sanchin Dai Ichi – 三戦一 (Miyagi Version)
- Sanchin Dai Ni – 三戦二 (Higashionna Version)
Kaishu Kata 開手型
- Gekisai dai ichi – 撃砕ﾓ一
- Gekisai dai ni – 撃砕二
- Saifa – 砕破
- Seyunchin – 制引戦
- Shisochin – 四向戦
- Sanseru – 三十六手
- Sepai – 十八手
- Kururunfa – 久留頓破
- Sesan – 十三手
- Suparinpei – 壱百零八手
Heishu Kata 閉手
- Tensho – 転掌
Kakie refers to a series of two-person exercises in Goju-Ryu that are often referred to as “Push-Hands”, but more correctly would be “Sticky Hands”. Other martial arts such as Tai-Chi and Wing Chun, also use similar drills, in fact most styles of southern Chinese Kung Fu and those Okinawan Karate systems stemming from Naha-te or Uechi-Ryu utilize some type of sticky hands training.
OKINAWAN UECHI-RYU KARATE
Uechi-Ryu is a sister style to Goju-Ryu and shares many similarities, it was propagated by four generations of the Uechi family. It was originally called Pangainoon and is based on the movements of the Dragon, Tiger and Crane, it is a largely external martial arts brought back from China. The movements contained within the kata are also intended for self defense and not sport. Short circular blocks, finger tip strikes and toe tip kicks. While this is not our primary focus, it is usually taught to all black bet students and instructors; Jones Sensei is a licensed Shihan with the teaching title of Hanshi in Uechi-ryu and is available to teach courses and seminars.
The kata of Uechi-Ryu are;
- Sanchin – 三戦
- Kanshiwa – 完子和: A combination of the first kanji in Kanbun’s name, and the last two kanji written in Chinese order of Shu Shiwa’s name in Japanese pronunciation. Originally known as “Kanshabu” based on earlier mistranslation of Zhou Zihe’s name into Japanese as “Shu Shabu.”
- Kanshū – 完周: A combination of the first kanji in Kanbun’s name, and the kanji for Shu Shiwa’s family name (Shu). Originally known as Daini Seisan (第二十三) or “Second Seisan,” it was created by Seiki Itokazu in the 1950s.
- Seichin – 十戦: Literally translated: “10 fights/conflicts,” or a combination of the names of Seisan and Sanchin. Created by Saburo Uehara in the 1950s.
- Seisan – 十三: Literally translated: “13.” Usually interpreted as “Thirteen modes of attack and defense” or “13 positions to attack/defend from”.)
- Seiryū – 十六: Literally translated: “16.” Created by Kanei Uechi in the 1950s.
- Kanchin – 完戦: A combination of Kanbun’s first kanji 完 and “fight” 戦. Created by Kanei Uechi in the 1950s.
- Sanseiryū – 三十六: The kanji was originally pronounced “Sandairyū,” literally translated: “36.” Sometimes interpreted as “thirty-six modes of attack and defense” or “36 positions to attack/defend from.” While apocryphal, the 1977 Uechi-Ryū Kihon (Techniques Book) claims Shu Shiwa was also known as “The 36th Room Priest” to suggest the interpretation of the name as the “36th Room Kata” .